8th ISGS Workshop: Sustainable Sol-Gel Energy Materials

The 8th ISGS workshop, “Sustainable Sol-Gel Energy Materials – SUSGEM2023,” organised by ISGS board members Beatriz Julián-López (INAM-UJI, Spain) and Verónica de Zea Bermúdez (UTAD, Portugal) was held from 1-4 October 2023 in Castelló de la Plana, Spain. The event gath-ered 44 researchers at all career stages, as well as industry professionals, representing 10 different countries. Over the course of four days, the work-shop featured engaging interdisciplinary presentations and discussions exploring the use of sol-gel materials and processing methods for energy generation, conversion and storage; catalysis; insulation; corrosion; photonics; circular economy; and recycling. A noteworthy aspect was the significant participation of women, with the Workshop nearly achieving gender parity.

The scientific program commenced with a captivating and inspiring plenary lecture by Prof. Clément Sanchez, providing a comprehensive overview of sol-gel strategies to tailor nanostructures for the development of highly functional materials. Subsequently, the workshop showcased seven outstanding invited lectures by Prof. Rute A.S. Ferreira, Dr. Sofia Masi, Prof. Aline Rougier, Prof. José Paulo Farinha, Prof. Fátima Montemor, Prof. Markus Niederberger and Prof. Luisa Durães. In addition, three mid-career keynote speakers, Drs. Carolina Rosero, Francisco Gonell, and Takamichi Matsuno, contributed to the program. Complementing these presentations, were 22 oral and 11 flash communications, with approximately 80% of them presented by PhD students and early career scientists, showcasing the future leadership of the sol-gel community.

We are delighted to say that a special Issue of the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology will be devoted to publishing the works presented in SUSGEM 2023. Beyond the scientific discussions, SUSGEM2023 featured a vibrant social program. This included a Welcome reception at Hotel Luz, a social excursion exploring the medieval foundations of Castelló, and a Gala Dinner at Hotel Voramar, held on a beachfront terrace in Benicàssim. Following the workshop’s closure, a select group of participants explored Valencia, indulging in the city’s finest gastronomy and cultural heritage. This marked a splendid conclusion to four days of networking among sol-gel practitioners. We now look forward to the 22nd International Sol-Gel Conference in 2024, which will be Chaired by Professor Nicola Pinna in Berlin (Germany). The realization of the 8th ISGS workshop was made possible through the invaluable support of the ISGS and the main sponsorship from the Valencian regional government (Generalitat Valenciana, CIAORG/2022/57 funding), which was pivotal for securing the participation of eminent researchers and elevating the caliber of the workshop. We also acknowledge our collaborator organisations: Ajuntament de Castelló, Universitat Jaume I, Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Càtedra d’Innovació Ceràmica-Ciutat de Vilareal, Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio, Real Sociedad Española de Química, and Sociedade Portuguesa de Materiais. For additional event snapshots, feel free to visit our X (previously Twitter) page @SUSGEM2023.

The SUSGEM 2023 Organising Committee Verónica C. de Zea Bermúdez (left) and Beatriz Julián López (right)